For a PR professional, their presentation style will always be as important as the content. Public speaking needs care and attention.
The way a PR professional presents themselves and their message will have an effect on their professional success. Formal presentations are important but a presenter does not have to be intimidating or entertaining.
A few basic skills, good preparation, and interesting material are needed for successful public speaking. Given below are few basics that are needed for effective public speaking
Assess the Audience
For an effective presentation, it is important to know the audience.
The speaker should know what they hope to achieve by addressing the audience.
It is important to find out how many people make up the audience and what are their backgrounds, how familiar they are with the subject matter — are they interested to know more about the subject or should the speaker capture their attention?
If there is a clearly defined intent and the speaker understands the audience, the chances of a presentation turning out to be relevant and interesting increase.
Building the Presentation
A successful presentation should be like a good story with a beginning, a middle and an end. The speaker should be able to describe with a sentence what they hope to achieve and what they believe the audience will learn.
There should be a brief outline to provide a roadmap to help people follow along. The points should move with a sense of natural progression and build up to a conclusion.
Keeping the Attention of the Audience
The attention span of the audience in general has decreased quite considerably. For the presenter, this is relevant.
It is better to check the room before parenting to ensure that it has all the equipment that is needed. Any handouts that the audience would be provided with should be printed in advance.
Use Conversational Style
The audience should think about what the presenter is saying. Giving a lecture should be avoided and there should be no unnatural mannerisms or pretentious vocabulary.
It is better to speak as if the speaker was participating in a conversation.
Being overly casual in appearance or language should be avoided too. To make the listeners comfortable, the best way to speak is to speak conversationally.
Use Pause to Add Emphasis
It is important to learn to pause and collect thoughts. Ten seconds of silence can actually add emphasis.
It gives the speaker a chance to think about their next point, and also gives the audience a chance to digest the last information given.
The pause comes in handy when answering a question. The person who asks a question should be given a thoughtful response, this will go down very well with the audience.
Maintain Eye Contact
During a presentation, a speaker has to look the audience straight in the eye. The speaker should not stare at the screen.
Today, virtual presentations are becoming important. This makes eye contact more important as points should be made directly to individuals.